Lionel Messi surpassed Iker Casillas’ record for career LaLiga victories as he helped Barcelona past Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Real Madrid great Casillas had been on 334 wins in Spain’s top flight since departing the club for Porto in 2015, after 16 years in Los Blancos’ first team.
But Messi, who starred against Atletico in a 2-0 win that helped Barca take another step towards retaining the title, overtook him after matching the record in the Catalan derby with Espanyol last Saturday.
Messi could have surpassed Casillas away to Villarreal on Wednesday, but Barca could only rescue a thrilling 4-4 draw at Estadio de la Ceramica – their talisman scoring a late free-kick as they came from 4-2 down.
He was similarly decisive against 10-man Atletico, who had Diego Costa sent off in the first half.
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored late goals again to move Barcelona to within touching distance of the title, as they beat 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Camp Nou to open an 11-point lead at LaLiga’s summit.
Although Atletico – who had Diego Costa sent off in the first half – looked set to hang on to a draw, Barca’s dominance ultimately paid off as Suarez and then Messi struck late in the day as they did against Villarreal on Wednesday to land what is surely a fatal blow in the race for title.
With Atletico looking set to hold on to a point, Luis Suarez finally broke their resistance with a lovely finish from distance in the 85th minute, and Messi wrapped things up soon after.
The Argentina star rode a challenge from Jose Gimenez in the box, before neatly tucking a disguised finish inside the right-hand post, leaving Barca 11 points clear at LaLiga’s summit.
Barca edged a tense first half, which saw Costa given a straight red card in the 28th minute for berating referee Jesus Gil Manzano, though they were unable to turn their superiority into a lead.
Atletico weathered the storm for most of the second period as well, with Jan Oblak producing an inspired performance, but he was finally beaten twice in the last five minutes as Messi claimed a record-breaking 335th LaLiga victory.